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Mumps outbreak reported at Chicago-area universities

A vial of MMR vaccine, which stands for Mumps-Measles-Rubella. | Associated Press

Lewis University is reporting a mumps outbreak at its Romeoville campus, and several other Chicago-area universities are reporting documented and probable cases of students with the highly contagious infection.

The Will County Health Department reported one confirmed case and seven probable cases at Lewis University in Romeoville Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the school.

Another mumps case was reported at Columbia College Chicago, according to a Columbia spokeswoman, and a probable case was also reported at Loyola University, a Loyola spokeswoman said.

Mumps is a viral, contagious disease. Its symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite and swollen salivary glands, according to the Center for Disease Control. It can be prevented by vaccination.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is requiring Lewis University students at the Romeoville campus to supply evidence of immunity to the Lewis University Center for Health & Counseling Services. Students who do not provide documentation of immunization history will not be allowed on campus starting Monday.

Some of the affected Lewis University students live on campus, while others commute, according to Communications Director Kathrynne Skonicki. The student with a confirmed case is a commuter.

Lewis students can visit their health care providers, as well as local pharmacies, to be immunized, Skonicki said.